Cruz’s Arizona Loss Shows Trying to Out-Trump Trump Is a Losing Game

From left: Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Ted Cruz won big in Utah, but his almost equally big loss in Arizona — Donald Trump thumped him 47 percent to 25 percent — should be a warning sign to his campaign: you can’t out-Trump the Trump.

The headlines for Cruz the morning after his great Utah victory are astonishingly bad for him heading into Wisconsin — talk of patrolling Muslim neighborhoods, as if we live in a police state, and the name-calling exchange with Trump about their wives.

Cruz has one big shot at the increasingly dwindling likelihood that he can beat or pull close to Trump before the convention: he has to be the candidate of economic growth, opportunity and basic moral decency. The conservative candidate you can trust not to embarrass us.

Did the Cruz campaign learn nothing from the collapse of Marco Rubio?

Take a deep breath, Ted Cruz, get a good night’s sleep, and focus.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @MaggieGallaghe. Continue Reading

Can Cruz Pull Off an Upset in Arizona?

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

While it appears Utah is Ted Cruz’s to lose today, Arizona presents a unique challenge to his winning a GOP Primary Daily Double. 

The weekend polling of likely primary voters Maggie cited showed a few surprises. Prior to this poll, there had been a dearth of new polling, leading many to believe that the race was already decided for Donald Trump given the history of early voting in Arizona. John Fund, in a weekend National Review piece, agrees:

Arizona is an early-voting state, and people can cast ballots up to 26 days before the actual primary. As of last Thursday, 249,000 Republicans in Maricopa County alone (where Phoenix is located) had already cast ballots. That’s already more votes than the total cast in Maricopa in the 2012 GOP primary.

Early voting is a big advantage for Donald Trump, who tends to do very poorly among late deciders in primaries. “That banking of votes early on does help Trump tremendously, no matter what happens,” Richard Herrara, a political-science professor at Arizona State University, told the New York Post Friday. “He’s probably got a pretty sizable lead, so he’s just got to hold on.”

While the new polling shows Trump with a commanding lead (46-33) over Cruz, it appears the early vote (about 11 percent) actually went less strongly for Trump. For Cruz supporters expecting a repeat of his successes in closing with late-deciders, the weak Trump lead could be unwelcome heartburn, suggesting Trump is actually gaining strength and not operating from a previously banked vote. Continue Reading

Kasich Pulls Enough to Put Trump Ahead in Arizona

Donald Trump (photo credit: iprimages via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

A new poll shows that Donald Trump is likely to win all Arizona’s delegates, thanks in part to John Kasich’s ongoing capacity to attract the support of GOP moderates. The failure, of course, is also Ted Cruz’s: running head-to-head with Trump on immigration in Arizona was probably a mistake. Trump continues to win the anti-immigration vote in most states.

A new Fox News 10/ Opinion Savvy poll released over the weekend shows Trump dominating with 46 percent to 33 percent for Cruz and 17 percent for Kasich. Interestingly, the early vote (about 11 percent) went less strongly for Trump, indicating (if this poll is accurate) that Cruz is losing ground in the waning days.

A distaste for the Trump protesters? Perhaps.

What Cruz needs to do is distinguish himself on his economic message. But time, if there is any at all left, is growing very short.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @MaggieGallaghe. Continue Reading

Ted Cruz Can Beat Trump

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Tuesday is the crucial moment. For Ted Cruz to have any chance of stopping Donald Trump, he has to shock the punditocracy by winning all the delegates in Arizona and Utah.

In Utah, that means he must top 50 percent. Getting there in a three-man race is daunting, but with all those conservative Mormons who don’t swear the state should be Cruz country.

In Arizona, Cruz needs just one more vote than Trump. The media has assumed that because Trump wins anti-immigration voters, he’ll easily carry Arizona. But the latest polls there show Trump taking either 31 percent or 37 percent of the vote. Yes, he’s ahead of Cruz by double digits. But all evidence suggests that late deciders mostly break against Trump.

If Cruz can win Arizona and Utah before moving on to victory in Wisconsin — another winner-take-all state where voters like politicians who play nice — he’ll pick up 140 delegates, bringing Trump’s lead under 100, 673 to 558. Yes, Trump will then win the lion’s share of New York’s delegates, making the winner-take-all primaries in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware a pivotal factor in who emerges with a plurality of delegates at the convention. And then, of course, there is California, the biggest haul on the map, and the last state to vote. Recent polls show that Trump has yet to seal the deal there. (One survey has him at 38 percent, up 16 points on Cruz; another has him at 25 percent, up just five points.)

Head-to-head, Cruz believes he can win a plurality of delegates and take away Trump’s claim to the nomination.

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New Poll: Arizonans Undecided

From left: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Donald Trump

A new Arizona poll has Donald Trump ahead but with only 31 percent, and almost 30 percent remain undecided. Ted Cruz is second at 19 percent, and John Kasich has 10 percent. The poll was taken before Marco Rubio had dropped out, and he earned 10 percent of the vote.

The pundits who said the math shows Cruz can’t win put Arizona into Trump’s pile, assuming immigration drives the majority of Arizona voters.

This is obviously not true. Will Arizona and Utah vault Cruz back into close contention for delegates?

Will Kasich decide to stop taking Democratic money and stop helping nominate Trump?

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @MaggieGallaghe. Continue Reading